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Abducted baby located after 12-hour search; parents held

SoVaNow.com / November 19, 2012
An 18-month-old baby girl is safe and sound after Maryland police tracked down her mother, 35-year-old Jennifer D. Carwile, in Prince Georges County early Friday morning. Carwile, who had possesion of little Alexis Rose Carwile, was charged with abducting her from a relative’s home in northern Halifax County.

The alleged abduction, which triggered an AMBER alert and an intense 12-hour police search, was set in motion by a Nov. 15 decision in Campbell County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court denying custody of the child by her parents, Carwile and Eric E. Black, 41. Rather than comply with the court order, police say, Carwile and Black went to a relative’s home in Halifax County where they had left the baby while attending the custody hearing. They took her away with them before Campbell County Social Services could arrive, police said.

According to Deputy Emergency Services Coordinator Chad Loftis, the relative had no knowledge of the couple’s plans. Loftis spent the entire night on duty tracking leads and searching for the child.

Carwile was arrested early Friday around 6:30 a.m. in Prince Georges County, Md. where she and the child were found at a home of friends. The arrest concluded a frantic search that began late Thursday evening when the Halifax and Campbell sheriff’s departments were first notified that the child was missing.

Alexis Rose Carwile was placed in the custody of Maryland Social Services until Campbell County authorities can take custody of her.

As of yesterday, Carwile was still in Maryland, awaiting an extradition hearing before being brought back to Halifax County, where the alleged kidnapping took place. She is a Campbell County resident.

The child’s abduction had been listed on the Virginia AMBER Alert system late Thursday night. The alert activated the Emergency Broadcast system and posted digital messages on highway signs, giving information about vehicles that were being sought by authories.

At 4:11 a.m. Friday morning, law enforcement officials got their first break as Virginia State Police received a 911 call from a UPS van driver on 1-95, saying he had spotted a vehicle with a license plate matching up with the Amber Alert. The UPS driver followed the vehicle at a safe distance as the car continued southbound on 1-95 in Chesterfield County, where Virginia State troopers were positioned to make a traffic stop.

Troopers pulled over a 1985 Nissan on I-95 southbound in Prince George County, Va. and took the driver, Halifax County resident Eric Black, into custody without incident. He was taken to the Riverside Regional Jail in Hopewell and charged with kidnapping by a parent, a misdemeanor.

Later on Friday, Black was brought back to Halifax County and taken before a judge who entered a second felony charge, breaking and entering an occupied house to commit certain misdemeanors — a reference to taking the child to whom he was denied custody. Steve Cassada of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Department said he expects the kidnapping charge will be upgraded to a felony since Black took the child across state lines into Maryland.

Halifax County Investigator Tommy Spencer traveled to Hopewell early Friday morning to interview Black about the whereabouts of the child and her mother, but before he arrived police learned of the discovery of the mother and child in Maryland. According to authorities, a neighbor reportedly called Prince Georges police to report that a young child and adult were at a home in the neighborhood. Prince Georges officers located the child and the mother, who was immediately taken into custody. The call came some two hours after Black was arrested on I-95.



AMBER Alert, attentive UPS driver draw praise

Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark credited the combined efforts of law enforcement officers in Virginia and Maryland, members of the public and the Virginia AMBER Alert program with bringing about the successful rescue of the abducted Campbell County infant.

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